A Little Activism

Some of you may remember that a couple of weeks ago I talked about a rather dangerous aspect of the new diagnostics manual being proposed to the American Psychiatric Association. Psychiatrists have long taken an interest in men who like to dress as women, if only because the social stigma attached to such behavior can cause considerable distress. DSM-V, however, removes the requirement for distress from the diagnostic criteria. As a consequence a psychiatrist will be able to label a man mentally ill simply for wearing clothes that he deems more appropriate for a woman. As I noted at the time, this also provides a “back door” by which transphobic psychiatrists can label trans women crazy despite the general retreat on such issues evident in the parts of the DSM specifically aimed at trans people.

I don’t think I need waste your time pointing out just how pernicious this is. The simple fact this this “diagnosis” applies only to men and trans women should be quite enough to ring alarm bells and suggest that it is more a product of the psychiatrists’ misogynistic phobias than any real science. How much influence we outsiders can have over the APA is, of course, a matter for conjecture. But if you feel like signing a petition, you can find one here.

6 thoughts on “A Little Activism

  1. I agree. I think that this should also apply to women. The day that women started wearing pants, the world went down the drain. Oh sorry, that wasn’t want you meant? 😉

      1. I signed the petition; I’d like to sign this Pope-needs-psych-help petition, too…. 😉

  2. What is depressing about this is that back in 1973 the APA managed to achieve enough decency to introduce the distress cause in their definition of homosexuality (before removing altogether).

    It’s awful when history goes backward. 🙁

    I am actually a psychology student, so not exactly an outsider, although I am in the UK.

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